Sharpo Says: I was 8 years old and my parents gave me a magic kit for my birthday. There were several cool little effects in the box including card tricks and rope tricks but I really remember the number cards. Pick a number between one and sixty three. Is your number on this card? There are several cards with lots of numbers and some cards would have the number and some would not. A beautiful bit of math magic and "mentalism." Fairly sophisticaed for an eight year old kid but that was the trick that appealed to me most in that kit.
Like many small kids, my early ideas of a what a magician was came from watching Bullwinkle Moose pull a rabbit out of his hat.
Then a couple of years(?) later my grandmother took me to see Doug Henning do his magic show on Broadway! WOW! Dazzling and fantastic.
And of course I am certain I was influenced by watching the old Abbott and Costello videos featuring old vaudeville routines like the lemon game. That definitely influenced me in every way in developing my performer persona. Much of magic is based on cons and deceptions like this routine and when used for comedy magic it is wonderful. I include a link to to that routine plus one with Abbot doing a fun bottle routine. When I was a kid growing up Abbott and Costello re-runs and movies played every weekend on TV and I would never miss them.